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GM needs advice with 3 silly players AFTER having talked w / them


Advice

51 to 97 of 97 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Mark Hoover wrote:
The stuff I've just spent 3 mo's writing will be shelved so that the party can save princess toadstool from a troglodyte named Stinky McFartenstein. In the course of their adventure they will have to contend with rabid monkey butlers and the mind-numbing power of a warrior known only as The Accountant (his deadly 1040 E-Z attack has obliterated whole parties). Finally upon her rescue the princess will give each of them a single copper piece. If they complain she pulls a chain and the ceiling shatters, unleashing a torrent of gold which crushes and suffocates them while the lady teleports to safety.

As much as I love serious, plot-driven settings - this sort of campaign sounds amazing.

Edit: Make sure to include Spanky's suggestions ;p


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Hoover wrote:
The stuff I've just spent 3 mo's writing will be shelved so that the party can save princess toadstool from a troglodyte named Stinky McFartenstein. In the course of their adventure they will have to contend with rabid monkey butlers and the mind-numbing power of a warrior known only as The Accountant (his deadly 1040 E-Z attack has obliterated whole parties). Finally upon her rescue the princess will give each of them a single copper piece. If they complain she pulls a chain and the ceiling shatters, unleashing a torrent of gold which crushes and suffocates them while the lady teleports to safety.

I love this. The really crazy thing is, they probably will too. If they don't, you can just shrug and say that given their enthusiasm for the game you had planned (none) you are going for the game they seem to want to play.


Here's the thing.

You said you guys were doing this at 10 PM after a couple of beers. OF COURSE IT GOT SILLY. A group of friends with full time jobs getting together late at night for drinks and Pathfinder? Yeah, it got goofy. And because you guys all know each other, and because you take it so seriously, of COURSE they were punning all night.

Not because they're bad gamers, or a bad match for your play-style; it's because (IME) that is just how things go sometimes :P

SO you have two options: run the silly game you suggested (which might be a lot of fun if you embrace it), or run the original game and let them deal with the consequences!

I've been DMing for a LONG time, and I have really pulled back on my prep work because of things like this. I have several groups I DM/play in (I'm lucky this way), with some crossover, playing Pathfinder and 4e, and some nights are just goofy.

And yeah, sometimes it's frustrating. REALLY frustrating. But you have to let that go, because gaming is about getting together to blow off steam; some days you do that by really investing in the world and getting emotionally connected to your story and characters, and sometimes you do that by making silly names and antagonizing the DM.

Also, with full-time jobs and social lives and other hobbies there's a fairly strong chance none of them READ your player's guide. Which sucks. But there you have it. It is absolutely not personal; it's just a matter of time. Not many ways around that, honestly. You might just stick to your guns and let them find out in game what's up for a session or two and then allow them to make some changes; adventurer's retire, after all, some long before others, so it can happen in game without too much fuss.

tl;dr: nothing wrong, here. I think you should 1) say to them: hey guys, the other night is bothering me; can I get a straight answer about what you want to play? And approach them INDIVIDUALLY; if you do it in a group, they may not be as honest/open/helpful because they're each expecting someone else to say something first.

2) think about what YOU would enjoy doing, and then do it! See what works and change it up if need be, but there's a middle ground that both sides need to play in. It's not just you tailoring everything to them :)

and REMEMBER: all of that work? Was not wasted. It's good creative exercise, and you can plumb it for material for YEARS. Nothing survives contact with players for long anyway ;)


MyTThor wrote:
The crucial missing piece of information which would determine which was a valid analogy (or somewhere in between) was how receptive the players were to the kind of campaign that the DM wanted to run. If they agreed to the tone of the campaign he set, and also follow through with actually playing their characters all slapdash-like, then yes, your analogy makes more sense. If instead the serious toned campaign idea was a one way street that he said he wanted when the other players were up front about not wanting to play it, then I maintain that it's on the GM to adjust, either the style of his campaign or his group of players for another.

I agree that there's a big difference between "I discussed the tone of the campaign in person with everyone and they all agreed" and "I sent out an email with my ideas and I didn't receive any objections".

I blush to disclose that I have been guilty of skimming emails on occasion.


hogarth wrote:
I blush to disclose that I have been guilty of skimming emails on occasion.

As have I ;) it happens! And you add a good point to my post above:

hogarth wrote:
I agree that there's a big difference between "I discussed the tone of the campaign in person with everyone and they all agreed" and "I sent out an email with my ideas and I didn't receive any objections".

Your players honestly may have had no idea what kind of campaign you wanted to run before that night, and that night they were tipsy and tired. :)

Grand Lodge

Wow dude. Really sounds like your players don't deserve you. Believe me, I know what it's like to put so much time and effort into a game and have it not be appreciated, but I've never had players so blatantly disrespect me and the time I've put into building a good game for them.

I really don't know what to tell you as you seem to really want to play with these guys (my first advice would be to find new players). If it were me in that situation, I suppose I would try really hard to communicate with them. I would do this in person, with them as a group. Tell them how much time you've put into this, specifically trying to craft a story you think they'll enjoy. If they can't be mature enough to at the very least make reasonable character names that fit your game and try to take it at least somewhat seriously, then I would decline to run the game for them and wait till you find players worth your time to run that particular campaign.

If you must run for these guys, I would just run a module and put very little of my time or effort into it. If they're not going to invest in their characters, why invest in their story?


I can't tell you what the best solution for your table is. I don't know you or your players. I can tell you my experience.

I began a game based on the Suikoden universe about a year ago. I provided the players with all the setting information and they created characters. Some were serious, others were less so. I tried to steer the game in a more serious setting but the bulk of my players weren't interested.

I got frustrated with them for not taking things seriously but then I embraced the idea that this was based of a video game and I committed all the video game cliches. In the end the game finished (logically) on a high note and I decided that I would not invite most of the table to the next serious game that I ran. I knew that I could play something silly and lighthearted with them or something regimented like and adventure path but it wasn't (mostly) a table I could run a serious story with.

Take from that what you will.

Personally, I think the idea of letting the players GM so they can walk a mile in your shoes is a good idea.

Andoran

It sounds like what you are wanting the game to be, and what your players are wanting the game to be are vastly different things.

IMO, there's 5 of them and 1 of you, if the lot of you can't compromise to find an enjoyable medium for everyone, maybe you need to find another group and let them have the play style they enjoy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sometimes players want something more light and fun with good mix of silliness. Back in the 2E days TSR put out module called Castle Greyhawk which full of silliness and stupidity. The one thing I remember was attacking the ginger bread man with a +5 butter knife.

I'd run two games. I'd run a silly parody filled game for the fun of it. Then I'd run the more serious game. I've done this in the past. Sometimes you just need silly to get it out of your system.


voska66 wrote:
I'd run two games. I'd run a silly parody filled game for the fun of it. Then I'd run the more serious game. I've done this in the past. Sometimes you just need silly to get it out of your system.

You can also mix both styles into the same game; plenty of examples of this in popular episodic narratives (from Star Trek to Cowboy Bebop).

Cheliax

To the OP:
Your situation reminds me of my previous GM and that group of players. The GM spent a lot of time with his "custom" game, and made a huge document, and emailed it to everyone. When we got the document, we basically crapped all over it, and here's why: Too many changes.
Not little changes either. Drastic changes to the entirety of the game. From giving humans 4 bonus feats to start, to making a feat that reduces the oversize weapon penalty to -2 (where it was supposed to be at before his rule change, and without the feat tax), to eliminating all armour proficiency from the cleric, to making a mechanical benefit for the paladin that basically says "your armour is always clean and shiny, and you smell like roses" (no joke..). It was way too much, and none of it really made sense.
When we got that document, and I read it, I left that group. I simply told my GM "I'm really only interested in playing Pathfinder right now."

This is from a players perspective. Be sure that your players don't feel the same as I did. It may not be as drastic as my case, but ask them if they feel the changes you made was too much.

Silver Crusade

I see that some of you have asked the OP to roll with it and that's fine but the same needs to be asked of the player's as well.

Also, I think people really need to take a step back and think about it when using the "Fun" argument. Fun doesn't mean "do what ever I want because I'm having fun". Clearly the DM isn't having fun with this and I believe some people forget that the DM is entitled to his/her fun as well, it's not all about the player's.

My group knows my play style and I always tell the player's what I want to run before we start anything then they decide if they want to play or not. If I tell you I want a serious campaign and you agree but you don't play serious then I will have a talk and if it continues then I will stop the campaign.

Claiming "Fun" is never ever to be used as an excuse to do what ever you want.


shallowsoul wrote:


Claiming "Fun" is never ever to be used as an excuse to do what ever you want.

That's the thing - I sort of think that it is. Obviously not at the expense of others' fun, etc. But at the end of the day this is a game we're playing. It's a cooperative group game, so it certainly helps to be on the same page. I was just saying I think it's easier to get on the same page if one person (even an obviously hard-working DM) bends to the desires of the other 5, rather than the other way around. Seems like there's a good time to be had in the type of campaign the players want to run, and it DOESN'T much seem like the players are willing to play the type of campaign the DM wants to run.

Silver Crusade

MyTThor wrote:
shallowsoul wrote:


Claiming "Fun" is never ever to be used as an excuse to do what ever you want.

That's the thing - I sort of think that it is. Obviously not at the expense of others' fun, etc. But at the end of the day this is a game we're playing. It's a cooperative group game, so it certainly helps to be on the same page. I was just saying I think it's easier to get on the same page if one person (even an obviously hard-working DM) bends to the desires of the other 5, rather than the other way around. Seems like there's a good time to be had in the type of campaign the players want to run, and it DOESN'T much seem like the players are willing to play the type of campaign the DM wants to run.

Fun has to be 100% around the table.

If player's don't want to play in a campaign then they need to say so before it starts, they don't need to agree to the campaign then mess it up on purpose.

Osirion

The thing is, as a DM, it's easier to ensure that the entire group is having fun by making allowances. The DM who fights against his players (in regards to game style or campaign setting) is a DM who isn't going to have fun EVER, because all you're doing is setting yourself up for future conflict.

Sometimes, as a DM, you need to sacrifice your vision for the sake of the group, and you may have to sacrifice your ideal scenario in order to ensure a fun session with the group as a whole. When that happens, you'll find yourself having plenty of fun, because everyone is on board.

I have plenty of campaigns I'd like to run. Some are gritty, some are restricted, and some are totally insane. I'd like to run games differently with my group, but I don't, because letting them have fun helps me have fun as a DM.

Silver Crusade

Davor wrote:

The thing is, as a DM, it's easier to ensure that the entire group is having fun by making allowances. The DM who fights against his players (in regards to game style or campaign setting) is a DM who isn't going to have fun EVER, because all you're doing is setting yourself up for future conflict.

Sometimes, as a DM, you need to sacrifice your vision for the sake of the group, and you may have to sacrifice your ideal scenario in order to ensure a fun session with the group as a whole. When that happens, you'll find yourself having plenty of fun, because everyone is on board.

I have plenty of campaigns I'd like to run. Some are gritty, some are restricted, and some are totally insane. I'd like to run games differently with my group, but I don't, because letting them have fun helps me have fun as a DM.

That is why I always explain a head of time what type of campaign I want to run. If they agree to the campaign then I expect them to adhere to the style as much as possible.

Osirion

And if they disagree with any aspect of your campaign?

Silver Crusade

Davor wrote:
And if they disagree with any aspect of your campaign?

Once again.

I explain my campaign ahead of time and if they don't want to play we don't play.

Andoran

Mark Hoover wrote:

So last night we did character gen for my new Homebrew. I've talked it up for a couple weeks, even emailed the guys a Player's Guide I wrote for it, so they know there's a theme and all. Here's what eventually shook out and pay close attention to the names:

Human Rogue/Back Stabbeth
Human 2W Fighter/Steve Norris
Human Man. Mast. Monk/Vin Damme
Human Alchemist/Aaron Arsenic
Dwarf Cleric of Abadar (Earth, Nobility)/Noblearth

Yes, they know it annoys me. Yes, I've had the heart to heart. And yes, I've probably taken the game too seriously when making it. But I'm really annoyed. The vibe at the end of the night was that these were 5 throw away characters. In my heart-to-heart my one request was that they make guys they really are interested in because I have had 2 campaigns in a row self destruct by 5th level and I REALLY want this one to last to level 20.

Please, I'm asking for your experience here. Is there some kind of incentive you guys have seen that works? Should I get the TPK out of the way early so another round of glass jawed throw-aways can come in?

Move to Iowa. I want to play with people who care.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

I blame Joss Whedon.

Seriously though, part of the art of GMing is reading what your players like and giving it to them. OTOH, part of it is also getting the players on board with the game you want to run. It's a balancing act. It sounds like you and your players all have radically different expectations from the game and your playstyles may ultimately not be compatible. Personally, even if all my players wanted to run Toon or some such, I wouldn't agree to GM it because it's just not my thing. At that point, I'd suggest the group find somebody else willing to GM, and start looking for a new group that has more similar interests and expectations from the game. I won't commit to doing something recreationally that I know I'm not going to enjoy.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

While storytellers may want to get more player input on the style and depth for the campaign ahead of time, at the end of the day the players are entrusting the storyteller to setup the framework of an interactive story. It can't be done by committee, at least not well in my opinion, and it leads to more campaigns that fail or drop off early.

It feels here that the players want the "fun" but don't want to be bothered with putting in the time, and are using wacky-zany-clowntown antics to cover. The problem is that you're not going to get them into your groove of a serious, epic campaign based on how this first session went. If none of them responded to your prep-work in e-mail when you asked them to, they're not going to put in the time and that's that. In-game they're just going to use humor to deflect from their lack of effort.

My advice to the OP is to NOT completely change your DM style to make it goofball. Not that you couldn't pull it off perhaps, but if that's not what you signed up for as a GM, you're going to get ticked off at some point down the road when the players push it even farther, or when they suddenly decide they want a 'serious' game again because they're getting bored of puns. It's going to ruin your dynamic, and it's not respectful of your time.

Instead, don't go with a campaign at all for now. Go with one-shot modules or throwaway material that you can put your spin on, but that you're not having to put a full amount of campaign-level prep time into. Then you're not so emotionally and creatively invested in it that it bugs you if the players meander around with intensity levels.

Here's another idea for your next session - go get a Three Dragon Ante deck and have everyone learn and play some cards as their 'characters' (use glass beads for gold, and hey they can have their beers at the table too), so you still have the role-playing dynamic but it's pretty loose at the table. Then later on in the evening you can set them up for a good cheesy NPC-villian-walks-into-the-tavern tavern fight and they can bust out their dice and character sheets.


Read through the thread, and I'm in the camp that says as a GM, you need to be flexible with the type of game your players want to run. That doesn't mean that if the game is a bit more relaxed that you can't sprinkle in some more serious aspects to the story, but I believe a good DM is one that can read his/her players and adjust play-style accordingly.

It is much easier for one GM to adjust to how 4 players want to play than it is for 4 players to adjust to how one GM wants them to play. The GM should be flexible. I would hate for a game to never get started because a GM is too rigid to adapt to his/her players.

My personal "as a player" example, is we tend to have a very relaxed group. We get off track quite easily. I don't have as high a tolerance for getting off track as the rest of our group, but enjoy the occasional humerous anectdotes. After a while, I tend to stop adding to the rest of the groups crazy antics. Once our DM sees that I have had enough and would like to get things moving again, he gets everyone back on track. He has a great knack for sensing when to get the flow moving again.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I think its extremely disrespectful of them to make silly names if you asked them not to. The GM has to put a lot more effort into making a campaign world, especially a homebrewed one, and its not unreasonable to ask the players to invest a little in the world and the culture and to make character names that fit the world.

Now, Back Stabbeth is just rediculous and is putting no effort into it. Same with Noblearth. But some of the others, if they fit the way names sound in your campaign and aren't straight puns, might work and satisfy both sides.

(We had one player with a halforc in one campaign named...Mah'Tzl T'hoff. I thought that was clever and everyone called him Mah or Mah'Tzl and it sounded kind of orky. I did put the kaibosh when someone wanted to create his brother Jhak though...)

Now, the other question is how did you present the campaign to your players? Did you lay out naming conventions at the beginning? Did you give them some cultural reference? Some sample names?

I always let my players know that I'd like them to pick culturally legitamate names and to use something that isn't a common name today. So no Bob the barbarian or Sue the cleric. (I'd allow B'Hab if he was Osirian or Quadiran and Tsu from the Dragon Empires, that's at least playing with culture). And I also let them know that I'd like to avoid any Starshine Peacelove or Luke Skywalkers or something like that. Though a character with a descriptive and appropriate name is OK, like Vertian Longbow or Kemira the Blaze.

As long as its something more than just giggles or ignoring the culture of the game world, then I encourage it.

One caveat: I try to avoid players using the smae name over and over again, unless the character hasn't been played in years or never got past early levels....

Now, I'm not the only one in my groups that feel this way, however. If it was just me and everyone else wanted to play Farty Mc Stinky, Biggus Dickus, Fred the Paladin, May Annayze, Stab Slicer, Jesus of Toledo, and Connie Lingus, then we'd play that game.

But the people I game with (most of them) take the time to create interesting and detailed characters who try to fit in and feel like part of the world they are adventuring in, even if they're there to rebel against it and overthrow everything.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

You don't need to shelve your epic campaign idea entirely, but you might want to put it on the back burner for a few weeks. Use that time to thoroughly dose them with silliness. Break out a couple of games of Paranoia and perhaps a little Toon. After several weeks of absurdity, they may have more appetite for something serious.


Honestly, it's just a game. Relax man. Players will always make ridiculous characters or have punny names. It won't stop the roleplaying. He can just rationalize it to that he had crazy parents.

In a game I'm currently DMing, our best roleplayer is using a rogue named Barhopolis. He pretty much started out trying to sleep with every female NPC he met. He roleplayed a total sleezy scoundrel. Currently, he's given up his wanton ways and fallen in love with the princess, who is currently traveling with the party for protection following the king's descent into madness, and intent to sacrifice her in an extremely powerful blood ritual. He started out being all stabby stabby, but no joke the last big encounter I threw at them, he stepped up and roleplayed his way out of it. He's also, on two seperate occassions, given up large quantities of gold due or power because of his investment in the story. I gave the players a limited wish, and before anyone could argue about it, he stepped up and used it to revive an NPC that had accidentally died as a result of the player's actions.

So yeah, don't put too much in a name. Player Characters will always be immersion breaking on some level. It just comes with the territory. They are uber heroes who routinely get into danger just for gold, in an otherwise serious world. Just accept it, gloss over it, and pretty soon your entire play group will be roleplaying and getting involved, regardless of their ridiculous characters.


A potential compromise: everyone at the table is an action movie junkie and hyped for the new Avengers movie coming soon. The opening of my game was a festival with some throwaway games scenes for flavor. Here's what I'm thinking instead:

One of the PCs is a maneuver master monk. He'll be put in a rassling ring w/a 98 lb weakling whose only interesting features are a pair of thick spectacles and a pair of purple trousers. From the sidelines the weakling's buddy, clad in a massive suit of cold iron armor shouts his encouragement. In the ensuing match the hapless spectacled man is revealed to be an alchemist. Named Bruce...

Meanwhile I cut to another player, an archer rogue. He is on the archery field when out strides his opponent, who refers to himself only as the Hawk's Eye and proceeds to wail on the rogue's archery skills.

A third PC is a Str fighter; I'll have him tossing stones. a mountain of a man with a massive stone hammer and a nordsmen's look asks for a match. As he drops his hammer on the ground to to throw his shot 7 thunders echo in the distance.

Back to the ring and the monk. At some point he'll start to get the alchemist upset. At this point the poor man glares at him and mutters "don't make me surly. you wouldn't like me when I'm surly" and rambles seemingly to himself about "not coming out with all these innocents about"

Finally a startling transformation occurs turning the meek alchemist into a green-skinned behemoth that bellows "Bulk Crush!" and starts rampaging. Its at this point when a mailed warrior with a massive round shield appears and hurls the thing at "Bulk" to get its attention, catching the disk on the ricochet. He calls out "Revengers Converge!" and all the others make their way to the field. The iron-plated one in the crowd refers to the shielded fighter as "Captain" and apologizes, claiming he had money riding on the match and a girl to impress.

Together the Revengers lure Bulk away to a waiting hippogriff they refer to as Quinnwing and either on its back or by magic they fly off.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Gareshra wrote:

Honestly, it's just a game. Relax man. Players will always make ridiculous characters or have punny names. It won't stop the roleplaying. He can just rationalize it to that he had crazy parents.

In a game I'm currently DMing, our best roleplayer is using a rogue named Barhopolis. He pretty much started out trying to sleep with every female NPC he met. He roleplayed a total sleezy scoundrel. Currently, he's given up his wanton ways and fallen in love with the princess, who is currently traveling with the party for protection following the king's descent into madness, and intent to sacrifice her in an extremely powerful blood ritual. He started out being all stabby stabby, but no joke the last big encounter I threw at them, he stepped up and roleplayed his way out of it.

Actually, I like the name Barhopolis.

It sounds slightly fantasy-ish and its a lot better than Back Stabbeth...

And it sounds like he's got a detailed character hook and the RP chops to go with it.


You need a Roman Centurion guarding a gate named Biggus Dikkus.


gigglestick wrote:
I think its extremely disrespectful of them to make silly names if you asked them not to.

I think it's a bit much to tell players what they can name their characters. Each to their own, though.

beej67 wrote:
You need a Roman Centurion guarding a gate named Biggus Dikkus.

Don't forget his wife, Incontinentia Buttocks. :)


beej67 wrote:

You need a Roman Centurion guarding a gate named Biggus Dikkus.

Up Pompeii quote? or Carry On Cleo?


Oh, and clearly you must have a Holy Grail in this campaign.

With a CR20 vampire rabbit.

Start them with enchanted Coconuts Of Longstrider.

And luck stones that only activate properly if they can guess their own favorite color (which you change as the GM randomly).

Also a Viking sidequest with the Dragon of the North Sea / Horn Resounding.

Honestly, I don't see what you're complaining about. Campaign like this almost writes itself.

Taldor

@DSXMachina

Life of Brian

thanks,

Kodger

Cheliax

THIS THREAD IS UNACCEPTABLE


I will be pilfering this thread for ideas.

OP, just a tip, never make an intriguing world filled with plot, motivation, and nuance and expect the players to care. Instead just keep some general idea's about it and see how each session turns out. Then tune succesive sessions to their wants balanced by your own tastes. Saves a whole lot of time in creating a story the players either won't ever see, or won't care when they see it.

Seriously though, gonna use a lot of these nuggets for DD&D nights.

Andoran

Hmm, i have no issue with the silly names but then maybe I game differently to others. Our group are all for serious campaigns and our DM is amazing, but we like our humour - we are all friends outside the game and so just like a serious conversation in real life can end up with some puns and jokes slipped in, so do our RP sessions.

Humour does not need to take away from the game, it should enhance it.

In a PFS game I play a monk with 7 Int and 7 Cha and while his name is normal, he is lovingly based on Jason Statham, so throughout scenarios, when it fits I will make reference to his movies. (e.g. A quest requires us to take a package to someone, no surprise that I reference being the best Transporter there is). It's silly but it brings us amusement and thee is room for humour in to be slipped in all games - even Cthulu.


But Statham has huge Cha... so....


Many of the comments this thread has received have been that I need to lighten up as a GM. You're right; I do obsess over my homebrews as much as any other GM I've seen that writes their own stuff. When it comes to game for game however I do in fact inject humor and encourage it. I drop not-so-subtle references to pop culture and movies into scenes, like having the SPAM song sung by a bunch of mercenaries or having a 1st level wizard talk like Ray Liotta and attack with a book tornado.

However I've had whole campaigns hijacked by run-away silly (who hasn't right?) which is fine if that's the game we're running or if the stuff I'm running isn't all that interesting to me in the first place. Heck, like many have suggested I've sometimes gone with it and finished a serious campaign by having one of the PC's take the massive loot at the end of the adventure and create a medieval Vegas. But this time was different for me.

One of the folks I play with got too out there and didn't gel well with the group in our last campaign, so this was a re-boot after deciding to go on w/out him. The comments I got were that things were TOO silly, my players wanted more action, and one guy said less twists in the plot but he wanted an overall engaging story.

I guess in the end what frustrated me was that I felt like I'd taken my players suggestions, mashed them all together and really made something that fit ALL 3 of their needs. With the overarching theme from all my players being that they wanted the mood of the game less silly that's what I'd kept in the back of my head the whole time I was writing this new stuff.

Now again; I have no problem peppering in the silly. The whole first 3 levels the main villains are going to be mites. I basically was going to use them like murderous 3 stooge types. With an at will prestidigitation that just begs for silly. Just keep 1 mite in the background of any scene and you've got umpteen-million gags you can run: fart noise accompanied by gross smell as the party chats w/their employer, every time a nearby bard strums a soft chord on his lute it sounds like "meow, meow"; pie in the face type stuff.

But as the char gen session got underway it was obvious that my guys really didn't care. It wasn't JUST the silly names; they made characters they specifically said they wouldn't miss if I TPK'd the party. Add the over-silly tone of the evening and I guess I just panicked.

Well, I've made a couple rookie mistakes. The first was taking my homebrew a little too seriously. The second was, fueled by a weekend of reviewing said homebrew and obsessing over this thread I sent out a crazy email Monday morning to my players.

Through said email chain I voiced my frustrations, to which of course all 3 said they were just playing along w/the vibe at the table and they meant no harm. Basically telling me to get over myself, which I have. They've also committed to some re-naming.

Bottom line; I'm not tossing out a game I spent 3 mo's writing. I don't care how OCD this makes me seem. I will however dial back the tone and my expectations. One thing I'm CONSTANTLY reminded of is that for about 15 years I gamed w/a group of guys who would've jumped right into the stuff I wrote but that I don't game w/them any more and that my current players AREN'T the same at all. For example, no one in my previous group, even as far back as 1e thought that Cha was a dump stat. They never bothered with the numbers of the game, trusting that we'd stay alive long enough for them to do something REALLY cool. My current group however are very much the other extreme that enjoy the rolling to the roleplay and to whom story should be delivered through bullet points on a powerpoint slide.

I am still finding my stride here and still making mistakes. I anticipate making even more before getting some really good games done. I look forward to even more comments and as always your feedback is VERY much appreciated.

Andoran

To be honest, the minute the palyers say I don't care if my char dies, the alarm bells ring so I can see your concerns. I am all for humour and jokes as mentioned before, but regardless of an amusing name for the Char, we all take it very seriously in terms of having an invested interestin them and keeping them alive - we become very attached to our chars regardless of the humourous names, possibly because of it as it endears us to them - they are heroes, powerful adventurers who save the world and the silly name just helps remind us they are not perfect :)

I am lucky that the players I game with are some of the best Roleplayers I have seen and the DM is the best I have ever played with, as a result silliness is never a problem because it never gets out of hand as when the tone of the campaign changes we knuckle down.

It sounds like you have a very different set of players and need to slowly push them towards being more serious and better players which likely means ensuring a fine balance between simple and fun with serious and plot heavy in the hopes that eventually they will be wanting a more consistently deep game


Quote:
Bottom line; I'm not tossing out a game I spent 3 mo's writing. I don't care how OCD this makes me seem.

Shame, you had an opportunity for something highly unique and memorable.

:P

Like, for instance, following every successful combat, a wagon rolls by with the driver yelling, "BRING OUT YOUR DEAD."

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
beej67 wrote:
Quote:
Bottom line; I'm not tossing out a game I spent 3 mo's writing. I don't care how OCD this makes me seem.

Shame, you had an opportunity for something highly unique and memorable.

:P

Like, for instance, following every successful combat, a wagon rolls by with the driver yelling, "BRING OUT YOUR DEAD."

And then 1D6 Goblin zombies jump out.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The last homebrew campaign I ran was a fairly serious campaign consisting of a mix of intrigue, dungeon crawls, tactical infiltration, and tough battles with unique enemies in interesting locales. I worked hard at making it a campaign that my players took seriously and was rewarded when they would actually remember the plot the following week.

One of the keys, however, was that I made sure that they made characters that they could relate to and could care about. Every single character was modeled after (and more or less named after) a character from a video game or anime. Did it break immersion? Not really, because each player knew the character's basic personality and was able to act in character by mentally referring to what the character would have done in the game/anime. If I had required all the characters to not be "inspired by ___", then I feel I would have had much much less roleplaying at the table.

the characters:

Cecilia: human cavalier (Cecil from FFIV)
Duke Nukem: human gunslinger (Duke Nukem from Duke Nukem)
Shi: gnome nature oracle (Fluttershy from MLP, with a pony companion)
Trevor Belmont: human ranger (Trevor Belmont from Castlevania)
Louie the Runesoldier: human magus (Louie the Runesoldier from Runesoldier)

All of them had very distinct personalities for the players to draw on, and it allowed them to make video game references while still somehow being in character.

Another key was that I used (usually subtle) references to movies and games, and it kept my players guessing every time they encountered something new as to whether it was a reference or not. I believe that having the PCs interested in your creations as a DM is important.

an example reference:

An orc tribe known as the Badger tribe was occupying a mine that the PCs took back for the city. The orcs used claw type weapons and had trained dire badgers for pets, and had trapped many of the rooms with mushroom colonies that would explode into poisonous spores upon contact (like a Teemo mushroom from LoL), which made for some tactical choices involving bull rushes and repositions that made the fights interesting. The chieftain was a druid with a giant snake companion. At first the players thought it was just a Teemo reference, but then realized the entire thing was based on Badger Badger Badger...

It sounds like your players are willing to work with you, and you're willing to work with them. That's good. The point of the game is to have fun in telling a story with your players. As long as everyone is having fun, that's all that really matters.


so you weren't really able to fit these characters in a campaign that took months to craft, but you were able to pull an awesome and fitting campaign out of your ... hat in a few minutes (princess toadstool and the dropping gold) that fits perfectly and everybody will most likely love to play ...

and your points is?

I can understand your frustration, but ultimately the problem are your expectations (as your already noticed). If you really don't like to have a silly campaign, just tell the players that and offer to make a weekly munchkin card game evening instead of RPG.

Once when I GMed (DMed back then) we had a new player (new to RPGs) who took roleplaying very seriously, mimiking his voice as to that of an orc (to a real orc that would probably be very racist) and everything. I tried to keep a straight face, as did the other players, he realized after an hour that noone else talked like that, I had a little chat with him in a pause, and he took it more casual from then on.
Now you can of course say that I ruined a serious roleplayers experience, but on the other hand he didn't fit in, but he managed to change his expectations.
p.s. what I wanted to say with that anecdote is, that you are the only one who doesn't want it silly, so please don't expect all the players to change, gaming might not be a democracy, but it's close enough.


Castarr4 wrote:

Another key was that I used (usually subtle) references to movies and games, and it kept my players guessing every time they encountered something new as to whether it was a reference or not. I believe that having the PCs interested in your creations as a DM is important.

** spoiler omitted **...

This articulates one of my takeaways from this thread. You have all said it in a variety of ways, but it's basically this: I need to make my game relatable.

No, I don't want a totally silly game, but I like a little, and probably less than my players. But still we have a good time gaming together and usually seem to fire on all pistons. I think the reality is though that I don't really relate to them and they don't to me as people outside gaming. Thus, my game has none of them in it.

Ex: when we get together inevitably we small talk over dinner til we actually start playing. 90% of the time this consists of 3 I.T. professionals making jokes about programming languages and E1 platforms and me smiling politely and nodding.

There are one or 2 areas we have common interests though. As I said; all 4 of us are action movie junkies. In fact there's a lot of pop and b-movie culture that we've all mentioned having interests in. So...

see above for the scene I'm adding with the "Revengers" at the local festival to open the game. There's also a bunch of monks the party will have as contacts in the first campaign arc. I'm planning to have one of them end every sentence with "...as was foretold in the prophecy." If at any point they ask what prophecy he just stares blankly and asks "What?"

Other moments I can see would be adding many of the characters played by Jean Claude Van Damme or Jason Statham, complete w/names and me trying (and failing) at mimicking their voices. All of these would be a way to inject some humor that they can relate to.

It's hitting me right now how much I took my previous gaming group for granted over this one. I never had to "plan" to add such scenes since they happened seamlessly. In fact often times my players of old would literally play right into them as if acting out the comic book or movie scene I was referencing. My current players never seem really engaged and I think I'm beginning to consciously see the reason why.

Cheliax

I get the frustration but you're forgetting one key point. Everyone plays the game the way THEY want to. In this case, they like a funny game while you spent a lot of effort to create a serious game. That is not a match.
A GM caters to his players; if the direction your players are headed doesn't suit you, you can only go so far to entertain them. You can't make them and as they seem to be having fun, I'm going out on a limb and say you shouldn't. However, if it's no longer fun for you, the game is broken. your options are simple: new group or a new DM.


Sometimes, silly names make it into the history of D&D.

Melf: Melf was an elven character created by Gary Gygax's son Luke. After Luke had rolled up his elf's abilities and filled out the rest of his character sheet, he couldn't think of a name for his new character, and simply used what was written across the top of the character sheet: M Elf (that is, male elf). Gary Gygax borrowed Melf's name for the spell Melf's acid arrow.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Mark Hoover wrote:
stuff

Sounds like you figured out what to do, then. Good luck!


I don't think I'll ever have it figured out, but thanks for all the great advice. Somewhere over the last few years I've decided to take myself WAY too seriously. I still LIKE heavy roleplaying/serious games a lot, but I also enjoy the simple joy of a night of inside jokes, really bad puns and too much salt/cholesterol/alcohol.

Even after all of everyone's advice though, I still can't get over Back Stabbeth. (Seth Meyers' voice) Really? Really?

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